ERO report highlights best way to support children’s transitions from early childhood education to school

19 June 2015

When leaders and teachers work closely together, children will successfully navigate the education system, according to the latest national evaluation report from the Education Review Office (ERO).

The report, Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools, looks at how children are supported when they move from early childhood to school. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working well for our children at this critical point in their lives.

Iona Holsted, ERO’s Chief Review Officer, said: “Starting school is a big step, and should be a positive and exciting one for all kids. So it is good to report that many schools and services are effectively supporting children from pre-school to new entrants.

“About half of the 374 early childhood services we looked at had pretty good practices, as did just over two thirds of 100 schools. But there is still room for improvement. All children and young people need to have a continuous learning experience.”

A good experience commonly includes early childhood teachers and primary teachers working together; understanding and linking the early childhood learning curriculum with the primary school curriculum; knowing each child’s background, what they enjoy, their interests and strengths; and strong relationships with parents and whānau. These services and schools continually review their practice to keep on improving it.

Ms Holsted said: “Parents should expect services and schools to be talking to each other about their kids, and sharing their background, interests and strengths so that schools know the children before they walk through the door – and better still if parents are part of that.”

She added: “More teachers, leaders, parents and whānau need to focus on getting the education institutions ready for the child, rather than expecting the child to be ready for the institution. Everybody in the system should be concerned about how children move through it so that their learning is continuous, building from one phase to another – and feeling great doing it.

“When this doesn’t happen well, children’s learning is interrupted and their progress and achievement is affected. In some cases children will lose up to a year’s learning – and sometimes that time will never be recovered.”

ERO’s report is available on this website and copies will be distributed to all schools and early childhood services.

If parents would like a summary of the report, they can email info@ero.govt.nz.For more information, please phone Sally Aitken, Manager Communications, on 027 543 7465 or email sally.aitken@ero.govt.nz.